First Epoch - America's First Popular Music Epoch 1768-1887
The 500

Welcome to First Epoch - A unique website devoted to collectible sheet music of America's first epoch of popular music.

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Welcome to a unique web site, the only one I know of in America. It’s devoted to sheet music, specifically collectible sheet music, and is focused on what I call America’s first epoch of popular music. This dated from 1768 and the publication of John Dickinson’s Liberty Song (the sheet music is now lost), the first American patriotic song, and ran through the first one hundred years of full governance and the Centennial of the American Constitution in 1887.

I’m attempting to address ‘appeal’ in this wide ranging field of published music, introduce many to the spectacular range of graphic design on the illustrated fronts and encourage interest in this important branch of antique paper. Many songs serve as important historical documents of the time. Many issues of illustrated 19th century music clearly belong among the important original prints of the Victorian age.

California Bird Song (1879)
by Henry Work, Robert Teller lithography
The Case for Jenny Lind

It’s hardly the case that a ‘case’ should have to be made for the most famous  singer of the 19th century, a woman who so commanded her audiences that women cried out and men openly wept, a woman who was featured on the cover of more American sheet music than anyone else during the century, including Lincoln. In the 20th century we had the Beatles, a musical phenomenon who had howling, weeping followers lionize them. (more)